Poor results and a raft of injuries have seen the Serie A side's season go from bad to worse and club president Claudio Lotito has turned to the church for help.
Lazio have denied that club president Claudio Lotito called in an Italian priest to perform a manner of exorcism to rid the team of a run of bad luck that has seen them knocked out of the Europe League by Sevilla while slipping out of the Champions League places amid an injury crisis.
Italian publication Il Messaggero reported that Lotito called in the Catholic Church to splash holy water around the club’s Fomello training ground to ward off the spectre of more players joining Valon Berisha, Bastos, Wallace, Luiz Felipe and Jordan Lukaku on the sidelines and to produce a little divine intervention in the side’s results to give them a push in their quest for the Champions League.
The report led Lazio to release an official club statement to the effect that Don Vicenzo, a priest with whom Lotito has a 50-year friendship, had merely been asked to bless the newly renovated Fomello complex and that no actual warding off of curses took place. Lazio are at home against Udinese on Monday evening.
"Unlike others, Lazio does not need magicians and exorcists"
"Unlike others, S.S. Lazio does not need magicians and exorcists," the statement began. "President Claudio Lotito asked a priest – to whom he has a 50-year-old friendship with – named don Vincenzo to bless the newly renovated Formello Sports Center.
"The renovations had just been completed and he wanted to celebrate: two new football fields have been established, as well as new spaces for the Youth Sector. Also, from a structural and technological point of view, the changing rooms of the first team, of the technical staff, and of the Primavera and been updated and renewed.
"Lastly, the gym, swimming pool, and relaxation area have been expanded and upgraded."